Advice, II

Sometimes new teachers do ask me for advice.  It’s humbling, and even though my words to them are far from perfect, I try to say things I would have benefitted from as a brand new teacher.

Here’s a response I sent to a new teacher recently:

Advice?  Listen to others, but don’t imitate.  Be open-minded and try new things.  Then see how you feel after each “kind” of lesson.  Where are you most comfortable?  What did you enjoy/hate?  You decide everything in your room, so make it fit your teaching style, which will be emerging.

Keep doing the things that work, and stop doing the things that don’t.  What if we all did that?  (Why don’t we all do that?)

Don’t imitate.  You’ll be tempted to copy someone else doing something you think is amazing, but it won’t work for you, and that’s because they have their strengths, and you have yours (which are different).  Plus, they’re also more experienced.  That also goes for all the newest-latest-greatest books/theories/websites (even my own).  If you’re not being yourself, teaching to your gifts and strengths, you won’t be a happy teacher (plenty of unhappy teachers, and now you know why).

All the best

How’d I do?  Go ahead and give me a letter grade in the reply box below.

Words like this were nowhere in my teacher training.  I wish someone had spoken them to me early on.  And (equally important) I wish I had the sense to listen.